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Audiol Neurootol. 2012;17(3):148-54. doi: 10.1159/000333805. Epub 2011 Nov 19.

The role of vascular endothelial growth factors and fibroblast growth factors in angiogenesis during otitis media.

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  • 1Department of Surgery/Otolaryngology, University of California, San Diego, USA.


The middle ear response to otitis media includes transformation and hyperplasia of the mucosal epithelium and subepithelial connective tissue. Significant neovascularization is also noted, which occurs both to support the hypertrophied mucosa and to mediate the increased trafficking of leukocytes. We investigated the role of two known potent angiogenic growth factor families, the fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), in middle ear mucosal angiogenesis. DNA microarrays were used to evaluate the expression of FGFs and VEGFs, as well as their receptors and unique signaling proteins, in the middle ears of mice undergoing a complete course of acute bacterial otitis media. In addition, a member of each family was introduced to the middle ear submucosal compartment of the normal middle ears of guinea pigs, by a continuous-release osmotic minipump system over 1 week. During the course of bacterial otitis media, a significant regulation of a number of genes important for angiogenesis was identified. Histologic evaluation of middle ear mucosa following micropump infusion of both FGF1 and VEGF-A showed significant angiogenesis at the site of infusion in comparison to control saline infusion. These results support a role for FGFs and VEGFs in the neovascularization of the middle ear mucosa during otitis media, and offer a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention.

Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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